|Arlington Park Barn Notes 05/15/03
In today's notes:
Mynameischase, who paid $242.80 to win at Arlington Park Wednesday, had drawn the attention of owners Jim Perrone and Stephen Richek as well as trainer Nicolas Perez long before he lit up the tote board on the fourth day of the local season.
"We noticed that this horse had run some good races last year at Sportsman's Park," said trainer Perez Thursday morning, "and had won at five and a half furlongs at Canterbury last summer. We had our eye on (Wednesday's) race for him even before we claimed him out of his last race (Apr. 26 at Hawthorne).
"I was surprised he went off at that price yesterday," Perez said, in reference to the longest win price registered at Arlington since the facility reopened in 2000. "He loves that distance and I really thought he had a good chance to win it, even though it was a tough race. We had that boy (apprentice jockey Cruz Contreras, aboard for Wednesday's tally) blow him out a few days ago, and he really liked the way he went so we gave him a shot to ride him. The rider wanted to rate him as long as he could, but he said the horse just took off with him."
Incidentally, for trivia experts, the largest win price ever recorded at Arlington Park came when Invalinda paid $382 on August 12, 1963. The largest all-time exacta at Arlington was $6,267 on Aug. 7, 1991, but Mynameischase combined with Daniel T. Gaffney's Spanish Mist for a healthy $3,245.60 mutuel based on a $2 wager.
However, Perez, 33, born and raised in the Chicago area, has been around longshots before. Among the trainers the local conditioner worked for when he was still an assistant was O. J. Glass, who saddled Rockamundo to win the 1993 Arkansas Derby for a record high payoff of $218 in that Triple Crown prep at Oaklawn Park.
Although Perez has been on his own for about nine years, he also credits his time as an assistant under the veteran Jere R. Smith as an important part of his equine education.
Chicagoan Bob Ackerman, who along with partner and fellow Chicagoan Barry Golden bred Preakness contestant Senor Swinger, will join that horse's former trainer Mickey Goldfine, another Windy City native, in rooting for Bob & Beverly Lewis's Senor Swinger when that sophomore goes to the post in Saturday's 128th running of the Grade I Preakness.
The middle jewel of the Thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown will be simulcast to Arlington Park as a special event this Saturday as part of Arlington's Armed Forces Day program. Advance wagering on the Preakness through Pimlico will be available Friday at Arlington, and on Saturday, Arlington guests will have the choice of wagering through the national Preakness pool or locally through the separate pool in the State of Illinois.
Ackerman and Golden retained ownership of Senor Swinger through the $1 million Florida Derby this winter, and Goldfine saddled the horse in Gulfstream's Grade I Triple Crown prep before selling the horse to the Lewises. The colt subsequently joined the barn of trainer Bob Baffert.
However, Goldfine, who thoroughly enjoyed the Florida Derby experience, will root for Senor Swinger as if he was still under his own shedrow.
"I love the horse," said Goldfine, 49, son of legendary Chicago conditioner Lou Goldfine. "I hope he runs well. If he wins, sure, there will be some feelings like 'I wish I'd been there' (for the Preakness as the trainer), but I did a lot with that horse, and people are going to remember that, so it's still a good thing for me if Senor Swinger goes on to a great career."
Co-owner Bob Ackerman, speaking over the phone from Las Vegas where he will watch Saturday's Preakness, was also emphatic on wishing Senor Swinger all the best in Baltimore.
"We're certainly rooting for him for both financial and emotional reasons," said Ackerman Thursday morning. "We still own Smooth Swinger (Senor Swinger's dam) and she's back in foal to El Prado (Senor Swinger's sire) right now, and we also half a half-brother to Senor Swinger who is eligible for the Illinois-bred program.
"Obviously, the more success Senor Swinger has, the more advantageous it is for us financially, so there is nothing I'd rather see Saturday than to have him run big. You know, since we sold him, I've learned to refocus my thinking a little bit. For Senor Swinger to have his best chance at success, he needs to be with the connections he is with now. I couldn't afford, for instance, to put the horse on a plane every time a race came up for him, so I've set some new goals for our operation.
"My new goal is to breed and race the Illinois Horse of the Year," Ackerman said. "That's a more reasonable goal we might be able to accomplish at a much lesser cost."
Saturday will be the third of 15 American Airlines Sweepstakes at Arlington Park, giving Arlington guests the chance to win two free round-trip tickets to any destination in the continental United States where American Airlines flies.
Veteran Arlington Park jockey Eduardo Perez had a riding double Wednesday at Arlington, winning the opener aboard Noel Salvino's Peering Over for trainer Jimmy DiVito, and coming back to the winner's circle astride John D. Bauman's Illini Queen, saddled by trainer Elmer Miller, after the sixth race of the day.
Elle Gerdes, a 12-year-old from Oak Forest, Illinois, will sing "God Bless The U.S.A." as part of Arlington Park's Armed Forces Day activities Saturday, where the Preakness Stakes from Baltimore will be simulcast as a special event at the suburban Chicago oval. In past years, the youngster has sung the National Anthem before a Chicago White Sox game at Comiskey Park, before a Milwaukee Brewers game at Miller Park, and before a Chicago Bears game in Champaign, Illinois. She is currently in the 6th grade at Central Middle School in Tinley Park, Illinois.
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